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Dr. John Fleece, Small Town Doctor

 

Dr. John Fleece, Jr. was the epitome of a small town country doctor.  He never hesitated to stop by and visit an ailing person, no matter the time of day or night.  It did not matter if he was called for at the first sign of dawn, or in the deep, dark, soothing hours of twilight; he would come.  This was considered by all to be a very admirable trait, one that brought him great respect and love.  No one ever thought it would bring about his demise.

One midsummer night, during one of the worst storms in quite some time, Dr. Fleece was rushing to see a horribly sick man who had taken a turn for the worse.  Time was vitally important- a matter of life or death- and so he spurred his horse on, urging him to go faster and faster.  The horse began slipping and stumbling through the slick, brackish mud.  Suddenly, the animal stepped on a rusty, abandoned barrel hoop.  His horse panicked, reared up and threw Dr. Fleece to the ground, killing him instantly.  Never again was he to do another house call.  The man he died trying to save miraculously pulled through, though he suffered tremendous guilt and felt that he had indirectly killed a man.  He profusely apologized to Mrs. Fleece, but she really could not be consoled.

You see, when Mrs. Fleece was told of this tragedy, she became despondent.  As her grief progressed, she tried different tactics to cope with it and make herself feel better.  Eventually, she went insane and started doing rather odd things.  She developed a very unusual craving for wild parties.  She had been a devout Methodist before the accident, but the Methodist church humored her, letting her cope the way she wanted to.  For example, she decided that after she died, she wanted to be buried in a cemetery that had been shut down for twenty years. She eventually did pass on, after one particularly wild party, and was buried in the cemetery, underneath a weeping willow.  The tragedy does not end there.

The man whom Dr. Fleece was trying to save sank into a deep depression.  He was plagued by images of Dr. Fleece’s face and the image of his mourning widow.  One day, he couldn’t take it anymore.  He wandered to the spot of Dr. Fleece’s death, sat on a fallen tree and shot himself.  It is said that travelers walking through the woods on that path, have seen a man, the same man who took his own life.  He walks the path everyday, all the time, keeping it clean, picking up litter that could be potentially harmful.  He felt so guilty about “killing” Dr. Fleece; he’s making up for it by protecting hundreds of other people.  He can’t undo the past, but he can help with the future.

 

Emily Church

Mercy Academy